Why the futuristic city of Saudi Arabia worries

There are $500,000 million dollars that the government of Saudi Arabia has been contemplated for the construction of the urban megaproject called Neom.

This is an initiative that is part of its “Saudi Vision 2030” program, which seeks to expand its economy and make it less dependent on oil.

Within this plan, It is considered a futuristic city called The Linewhich they promise will be ecological as it is powered entirely by renewable energy..

As its name suggests, This will have a linear format and will not have roads or cars that can generate emissions..

Although the ambitious megaproject has attracted international attention due to its technological and structural implications, it has also Multiple accusations have been made against the Saudi government and the dozens of international companies that are working on its construction..

Why the futuristic city being built in Saudi Arabia worries organizations that protect Human Rights. Photo: The Line / Neom.

One of them was recently carried out by Colonel Rabih Alenezi, a former local intelligence officer.

In conversation with the BBC, He assured that he was ordered to evict villagers from the Huwaitat tribe, who lived in an area of ​​the desert that The Line will pass through..

As detailed, In 2020 they told him that they were a group of “many rebels” and that “whoever continues to resist should die”.

According to his story, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman “authorized the use of lethal force against anyone who stayed in his house”.

That same year, A man named Abdul Rahim al Huwaiti, who had shared protest videos on the networks, was shot during the expulsion.

From the Saudi intelligence service They explained at that time that he attacked the security forces with armed force, so they had to open fire against him.

Nevertheless, The United Nations Organization (UN) and different groups that protect Human Rights assured that the loss was due to the fact that he refused to leave the area. in which he lived.

Despite having received the order, Alenezi told the aforementioned media that he did not participate in the operation, since he invented that he had health problems that prevented him from doing so..

After working for Saudi intelligence, He went into exile in the United Kingdom, where he has lived since 2023.

During preparations for the construction of The Line—which is 170 kilometers long, 200 meters wide and 500 meters high— More than 6,000 people have been displaced, according to government data.

However, from the Human Rights organization based in British territory, ALQST, They presume that the figure is higher.

On the other hand, data from the UN and the aforementioned group affirm that During the evictions there were at least 47 detainees.

Of that number, 40 remain in prison and five are expected to serve the death penaltyALQST told the BBC.

And although the Saudi government says that compensation has been offered to those who have had to move, the latter accuse that the amounts paid are considerably less than those promised.according to ALQST representatives.

For its part, two senior executives who worked on projects for Neom criticized the efforts.

One of them, Andy Wirth, said that they never clarified his doubts related to this topic and alleged: “It just reeked that something terrible had been imposed on these people (…) You can’t step on their necks to advance.”

The second, Malcolm Aw, suggested that the megaproject “It might be good for some high-tech people who live in that area, but what about the rest?”.

Faced with the accusations, The Saudi government and Neom management declined to comment. to the aforementioned medium. Meanwhile, the project continues.

 
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